×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Italia gets social with ‘X’

Online buzz makes show a must-watch

ROME — While Italy might lag behind the rest of Western Europe in Internet usage, pay channel Sky Italia is pushing the country to the forefront of the social media-TV frontierthrough hit competition series “The X Factor,” using a strategy in which the feevee aims to make itself a must-have for Italo consumers.

“Our choice of making something so interactive and digital is driven by the fact that that you want to do something very different from free-to-air; in some way it’s an obligation for pay TV,” says Sky Italia exec VP Andrea Scrosati.

Sky Italia viewers can vote for “X-Factor” contestants via Twitter, as well as their TV remote. Also available are apps, such as an applause meter that measures the approval of folks watching at home — and will turn the TV screen green or red during the finals depending on the intensity of the clapping.

Scrosati notes that Sky Italia has many more interactive bells and whistles than, say, free-to-air broadcaster ITV in the U.K., which draws 9 million-10 million viewers per show, as opposed to the Italo feevee’s less than 1 million per episode. Sky Italia, which has just under 5 million subs in a nation of roughly 22 million TV homes, sees social media as a way to offer smaller audiences the kind of water-cooler experience auds get from ratings-grabbing shows on free-to-air nets.

Significantly, on a recent evening, 750,000 “X-Factor” votes were cast from Italian couches, representing almost the entirety of that episode’s audience. By contrast, votes cast from Italo TV households for the latest edition of the country’s top-rated Sanremo song fest, which pulls millions of eyeballs on pubcaster RAI, reached a total of 1 million spread across five nights.

Sky Italia is infusing social media into other shows as well, including cooking competition “Master Chef” and the Italo version of “The Apprentice” (where the big boss is auto racing entrepreneur and playboy Flavio Briatore). Sky Italia’s upcoming Formula One auto racing coverage, for which it is splitting rights with pubcaster RAI, will also differentiate itself from the Italo pubcaster’s offerings by featuring a slew of interactive features and exclusive apps across multiple screens and devices.

More TV

  • Martin Short

    Martin Short Joins Whitney Cummings, Lee Daniels Amazon Comedy Pilot 'Good People'

    The cast of the Amazon comedy pilot “Good People” continues to grow, with Martin Short becoming the latest big name star to sign on to the project. Short joins previously announced cast members Lisa Kudrow, Greg Kinnear, and Whitney Cummings. Cummings is also writing and executive producing the pilot with Lee Daniels. “Good People” centers [...]

  • 100 Most-Watched TV Shows of 2018-19:

    100 Most-Watched TV Shows of 2018-19: Winners and Losers

    As traditional ratings continue to decline, so do the networks’ reliance on those numbers as a benchmark. Nowhere was it more noticeable than at this month’s upfronts presentations in New York, where the “r” word on everyone’s tongues wasn’t “ratings” — it was “reach.” Sure, everyone still touted their No. 1 status when they could [...]

  • Sam Champion

    Sam Champion Returns to Disney's WABC

    Sam Champion, one of the nation’s best-known weather anchors, will return to the station where he rose to greater fame. Walt Disney’s WABC said Champion would join its staff as a weather anchor on its weekday morning and noon newscasts. He will start Monday, June 3. He is expected to also contribute to ABC News. [...]

  • THE INBETWEEN -- "Pilot" Episode 101

    TV Review: NBC's 'The InBetween'

    There’s something to be said for a TV show that knows exactly what its lane is and fulfills its duties enough to hold together. NBC’s “The InBetween,” Moira Kirland’s new procedural billed as a “paranormal drama,” is a fan of just about every procedural cliche in the book, right down to the cheesy music following [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Talent Agents Blast Verve Agreement With Writers Guild

    The lead negotiator for Hollywood’s talent agencies has again blasted the Writers Guild and its recent agreement with the Verve agency — and cautioned other agencies against following suit. Verve defected from the major agencies on May 16 when it became the first sizable Hollywood talent agency to sign the WGA’s Code of Conduct. That [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content